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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 19, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Cephalon's shopping spree

Cephalon Inc. expects the economic downturn to provide many opportunities to expand its portfolio on the cheap. Last week, the company announced its third deal in as many months, spending $100 million for an option to acquire Ception Therapeutics Inc., which has a biologic for inflammation indications.

"Three years ago, we built a cancer franchise, and now we're moving into inflammatory disease," Chairman and CEO Frank Baldino told BioCentury.

Cephalon has eight marketed products in the U.S. and more than 30 products in 50 countries, with nine-month global sales of $1.4 billion, $846.6 million in cash and $1 billion in short-term debt at Sept. 30.

The company's main focus was pain and CNS until about three years ago, when it entered the cancer space through product and company acquisitions.

In June 2005, Cephalon bought Trisenox arsenic trioxide, which is marketed to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), as well as preclinical proteasome inhibitors, for $70 million in cash and up to $100 million in milestones, plus royalties, from Cell Therapeutics Inc.

That same month, the company completed the acquisition of Salmedix Inc. for $160 million in cash plus $40 million in undisclosed milestones, giving Cephalon Treanda bendamustine, which was in Phase II testing to treat indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Cephalon markets Treanda in the U.S. for the indication and for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

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